Monday, July 6, 2015

The Marital Debt

Phil and I met during our semester abroad in Austria, began dating pretty quickly, and began planning our life together soon after that.  Hey, when you know, you know.  We were young and in love and happened to be taking a course together called "Christian Marriage".  We would sit together in class, and study for the exams, all the while discussing our values and faith and what was important to us to have a holy Catholic marriage.  We were both on board with everything the church taught - chastity, NFP, being open to life, being married until death do us part, and having God as the center.  The whole shebang.  We were lucky to see eye-to-eye on all of the big things, and I'm sure the wonderful examples of married love we had from our parents was the main reason why.

Six kids later, and we're still happy at any chance to be together.

But...then we came to the part of the class where the Professor started talking about the marital debt.  I had never heard of this!

Here is the definition of the marital debt from the Bible: 

[1 Corinthians]
{7:3} A husband should fulfill his obligation to his wife, and a wife should also act similarly toward her husband.
{7:4} It is not the wife, but the husband, who has power over her body. But, similarly also, it is not the husband, but the wife, who has power over his body.
{7:5} So, do not fail in your obligations to one another, except perhaps by consent, for a limited time, so that you may empty yourselves for prayer. And then, return together again, lest Satan tempt you by means of your abstinence.

The husband and wife have a moral obligation (called the marriage debt) to have natural marital relations with each other.  Only for a grave reason could a married woman deny her husband marital relations for an extended time. 

In my naivety, I thought this was a troubling "rule" of the Church.  What if I was feeling sick?  What if I wasn't in the mood?  What if I was mad at him?  I still "owed" it to him?  That didn't seem loving at all, it was more like paying a bill and checking off a to-do list.  

But Phil, being his ever patient self, described it in a way that I would understand.  If we love each other, he said, then we want what's best for one another.  Simple as that.  He explained that the marital debt worked two ways, and if I wasn't feeling well or really tired, then he would be obligated not to even try anything, because he would want to put my needs above his.  I liked the way Phil explained it, and turns out it's never been an issue for us to feel obligated to pay the marital debt to one another (hello six kids!).  We naturally want what's best for each other.  If I'm tired, but I know he's been looking forward to a date night, I try to rally because I love making him happy.  And that definitely ends up making us both happy.  

The reason all of this was on my mind today was because I heard a song on the radio this morning with the following lyrics:

Best believe that, when you need that,
I'll provide that, you will always have it.
I be on deck, keep it in check,
When you need that I'mma let you have it.

She doesn't even know it, but she's singing about the marital debt!  (Of course, the song is terribly inappropriate and she's probably not singing about married love, but nonetheless, the sentiment is the same).  

When it seems sometimes that it's anti-feminist to be a good, dutiful wife who is generous and loving and happy to take care of the house and kids, it's nice to get reminders that it's our God given duty to put the needs of our spouse before our own.  We shouldn't be ashamed to do just that.  At the end of the day, I want to be known as a good mom and wife, with my eyes on the Heavenly prize.  After all, it's not in taking that we are fulfilled, but rather in giving that we receive.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Happenings and Goings On

It's hard to sit down and write in the summer time.  When I'm not working, I want to be outside doing stuff with the family like the rest of you.  But, every once in a while I need to document things so that my yearly blog book holds all the memories.

So, first up is the most important thing that's happened recently...Eamon served his first Mass!  He attended our parish's Altar Server Bootcamp for three days, and now he is allowed to serve with his big brothers who gently lead him around the altar and whisper his duties.  It is so beautiful to see.  Eamon has a Godly heart and I think surpasses me in his holiness already at age 8.  

Even better, his cousin and bestie, Tommy, became a server with him!

Declan is finally getting his molars, so that's  When he's not crabby, he loves being outside, which is great because between all the sports practices and summer activities we do, he's outside a lot!  

We've had a few cooler days here recently, so I've been able to run after work, and look at my view yesterday while I was running around the city park.  I had to tiptoe through those feather brains and their droppings because someone was feeding them bread.  Don't feed the birds!  It's bad for them.

On the subject of feeding, Phil and I are trying to eat healthy because we both noticed some winter insulation that never got the summertime memo.  So it's been lots of greek yogurt, grilled chicken, and salads for us.  But we have so many reasons to break the diet (birthday parties, holiday parties, we lost a pound parties) that we're not really losing any weight.  

Maggie got her haircut!  I had cut it about a month ago, but it wasn't straight and was driving me crazy, so I had it professionally done.  It came out so cute that I want to cut mine the same!

I don't know why I don't have any photos of Xander, the resident comedian, on my phone, but I'll leave you with a Xanderism:

(Seeing Phil give me a kiss)
Xander: "Why you guys always marrying each other???"

Because we like it ;)

Have a wonderful Fourth of July, here's a video from a few years ago of the oldest parade in the country in Bristol, RI:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


We don't do vacations often, but when we do we try to pack lots of fun and adventure into them.  Big family vacations can be super expensive but we try to tight walk across the line of normal thriftiness and vacation splurginess.  This past weekend we took a trip up to North Conway, NH for some "Kids did awesome in school this year and Dad's done teaching until the Fall" fun.  

We left on a rainy day, and stopped at Funspot for some indoor activities.  We timed it just right that we could take advantage of their Sunday bowling deal of $2.50 per person plus free shoes.  Then we gave the kids some tokens to play in the world's biggest arcade.  Xander just rode these cars until his tokens all ran out!  

I let Phil enjoy Father's Day and chased Declan around every blessed staircase in that place.  It was a great way to tire him out on the long car ride.

Stairway to Napping Heaven.

As we drove into North Conway, the rain stopped!  We checked into our inn (a Groupon deal) and then headed right to Story Land, where one ticket gives you access to the park for an afternoon and then a whole day of fun.

Xander's face was so fun to watch while we went on rides.  This place is truly magical for a little kid!

They let unlicensed peeps drive up here...crazy!

Declan gets the best seat in the house when he's awake...

...and when he's asleep!

Declan loved the balls, being a boy and all.

We watched a magic show that I thought would be pretty cheesy, but was actually really funny!

Driving Miss Daisy

 We had a pretty terrible night's sleep in the loft (squeaky pull-out sofa + tossy-turny kids + fire alarm going off at ten pm = sleepless night for me) so Phil took them all out early in the morning to see the view, a.k.a. let Mom sleep for an hour before she lost her cool for the rest of the day.  Smart man, that one.

 We ate the complimentary breakfast at the inn, packed up a lunch, and took off again for Story Land bright and early!

They have a new ride this year, the Roar-osaurus, a big rollercoaster (see the wooden tracks in the background?) that was a huuuuuge hit with our big kids.  We were worried hat JP, at the ripe old age of 12, would be bored, but this ride was great for him.  

 Xander and I loved the water rides, they were just our speed and just scary enough to make us scream-giggle.

Maggie wanted to ride in the Pumpkin Coach to Cinderella's castle, and the older boys, unsurprisingly, did not.  So I took my princess and my Batman to see her royal highness.  On the way into the castle, Xander asked "What's Cinderella?" and then immediately fell in love...

Hey there, Cindy, you come here often?

There were pirate rides, spinny rides, flying rides, and funny cast members from all over the world (really! their countries were listed on their nametags!). 

Andrew and Eamon were smiling and enjoying themselves the whole day.  It was great to sea (get it, sea? boat? I'll be here all night!)

We ate our picnic lunch (Story Land is so cool about letting you bring in food and drinks, we didn't buy anything there) and Xander found a chipmunk friend!


More rides...

I have so many kids, I don't know what to do...

 My wee Irish lads and lassie:

If you didn't catch it from the photos, Story Land is storybook themed...Mother Goose style.

London Bridge
Hey Phil, your tourist is showing :)

Every time we go, we have to take this photo on the bench!

We left Story Land and drove to Diana's Baths.  Diana's Baths is this gorgeous are with waterfalls, and small pools of water, and rocks and a rail that you can hike up and around.  The half-mile hike to get there is quick, but felt really long with a tired baby and a toddler who was on a bear hunt.  But so worth it!

Work it, work it ;)

The littlest frog in all the land.

We had just one more stop to make in town before the day was over.  To Zeb's country store we went for some candy and chocolate!

Another obligatory photo with me and my cubs.  Hardy har har.

Bear with me, my mom's a blogger.
We only had to eat two meals out, and one of those times we took advantage of a Kids Eat Free when the Red Sox win at a local chain restaurant.  I told ya, we know how to roll on the cheap and fun.  We really lucked out with the weather, both our driving days were rainy but the time spent in New Hampshire was beautiful.  God is so good!  I can't wait for our next little getaway :)